You know this season was going to be weird. Since conferences decided to play sports, the likelihood of wild variances was going to be high. So with Missouri heading to Starkville, the depth chart looking wildly different than it did to start the season, and the Bulldogs being far more healthy than they’ve been throughout the season... we probably should have anticipated a variance.
If there was a hangover after the thumping last week, we lived through it in the first half as Mizzou went down 27-10 following a series of miscues. Things the Tigers haven’t had to deal with much this season happened in sequence and sank them further and further behind Mississippi State. The Tigers did as they’ve done all year, and fought in the second half. But they lost the second half as well, thanks to a pick-6 and a failed 4th down conversion which gave MSU a short field against a beleaguered and limping Mizzou defense.
In true weird season fashion, the biggest spark provided to the defense was the inspired play of starting quarterback-turned-defensive-back, Shawn Robinson. Robinson spoke to how broken the roster is, while at the same time providing a glimpse to how special the program and culture is.
Shawn Robinson 1st Mizzou player with a TD pass and interception in the same season since Johnny Roland in 1965— Tom Orf (@MU4124) December 20, 2020
Robinson said he knew his future at Mizzou wasn't at QB but said he didn't want to transfer again. "I love my teammates. I love my team. I love the coaching staff. I love Mizzou."— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) December 20, 2020
Robinson came into the game on defense as JC Carlies was forced off due to a targeting ejection. All he did was put up 5 tackles, 2 solo, 1 pass breakup, a half tackle for loss, and a pretty incredible interception. The way Robinson played, it’s hard not to see him potentially being a replacement for Joshuah Bledsoe, who is moving on after this year. But as cool of a story as Robinson is for moving to the defense to help the team, the cooler part is what it means for the program.
Robinson is a former 4-star quarterback, who started games at a good power conference program at TCU as a sophomore, and started the first two games of this season. He had every right to move on after this year and find a program where he could play quarterback and play a lot. Instead, he’s making the move to defense in his fourth year in college, and doing so because he is where he wants to be. He’s part of a program he believes in, with a staff he believes in, and with teammates he believes in.
As ugly as the product on the field was to watch, there was something happening off the field which signals where this program is and where it could be headed.
I don’t know if Eli Drinkwitz is going to continue to reel in top 20 recruiting classes, and I don’t know if Eli Drinkwitz is going to continue to beat expectations at Missouri. But I do know he’s got the full faith and confidence of the guys on the roster.
And as disappointing as watching the game was, if you zoom out and look at the season in aggregate, it looks a little better. Missouri faced one of the toughest schedules in the country. They went 0-3 against Alabama, Florida, and Georgia (all in the top 10), and 5-3 against the rest of the schedule. Or look at it this way— Missouri lost to who we expected them to beat, and won the games we expected to win (Arkansas and Vanderbilt). They went 3-2 in the other five games. 3-2 with a freshman at quarterback, a decimated roster of opt outs and injuries, and what is largely considered the least talented roster in the SEC: non-Vanderbilt-edition.
Beating South Carolina, Kentucky, and LSU, with bumpy losses against Tennessee and Mississippi State, means there’s still work to do and places to improve. However, you hope this means that Drinkwitz and his staff have set a baseline. If this baseline is to be 5-2 against everyone not in the top 10 of the College Football Playoff rankings, I think you’re doing something right.
Up next... well, the regular season is over. Missouri is still looking to play in a bowl. And when there’s news on that front, we’ll talk about it.
Here are your other SEC scores:
- SEC Championship Game: 1. Alabama 52, 7. Florida 46
- LSU 53, Ole Miss 48
- 5. Texas A&M 34, Tennessee 13
- Vanderbilt vs Georgia was cancelled
Yesterday at Rock M
- Missouri vs Mississippi State football GameDay: info, where to watch, predictions
- Gamethread: Mizzou vs Mississippi St
- Tigers Lose in Starkville, 51-32
- Three takeaways from Mizzou’s 51-32 loss to Mississippi State
- Self-Inflicted Wounds Plague Tigers in Loss to Bulldogs